Creating a Silent PC

Reduce computer noise and turn your computer into a silent PC — or at least a much quieter one — using quiet components inside a quiet computer case.

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PC noise can be a problem in several ways:

  • If your personal computer is a home entertainment center, PC noise is unwelcome when you are listening to music, watching a movie, or playing a game.
  • If you use your PC to record podcasts or music, even low-level sound coming from the PC can interfere with the quality of the recording.
  • When you use productivity software or image-intensive applications, the constant or intermittent sounds of the cooling fans and disk drives can disrupt your concentration.

Noise doesn't need to be loud to add to your stress levels.


Need a Quieter Computer? Three Approaches

  1. First try some simple measures such as placing the computer on a padded surface (carpeting or foam) and tightening the screws throughout your system. These will reduce vibration and rattling noise.
  2. You can make your PC quieter by replacing the parts that produce the most irksome sounds. Fans (especially CPU fans) and disk drives are typical culprits. Below are recommendations for components you can use to build a quieter PC.
  3. Alternatively, you can buy a complete PC that's already engineered for quiet. Jump here.

Separate Components

Quiet PC Fans

Scythe and Blacknoise make ultra-low-noise fans recommended for quiet computers. In the 120-mm size, models include:

Another quiet computer fan is the Antec TrueQuiet 120.


Quiet Hard Drives

Quietest Drive

In the hard drive category, there is no contest: The quietest option is a solid-state drive (SSD). Not only do these run in utter silence, but they require little cooling, so fan noise is reduced as well. The downside is the dramatically higher cost per gigabyte (GB) of storage, but prices are steadily coming down and SSDs are expected to continue to become more affordable.

Disk Drives (with spinning platters)

In general, a smaller (2.5-inch) drive will be quieter than a larger one. A smaller drive also produces less vibration and requires less cooling, thereby reducing fan noise as well. Quiet 2.5-inch drives include:

If you want a 3.5-inch drive, one with a lower spindle speed (5900 rpm or less) will be less audible, in part because of the lower-frequency sound emitted. However, at this size, vibration is often a problem, even with a lower spindle speed. A quieter model in the 3.5-inch category is Western Digital's Caviar Green.

Quieting an Existing Drive

You can reduce the noise of an existing drive considerably by putting it in a soundproofing enclosure. The Smart Drive box by Grow Up Japan is highly effective (though its quality comes at a premium price).

To address vibrational noise, you can use a mechanical decoupling system such as the NoiseMagic NoVibes mounting system, which eliminates nearly all vibration.


Quiet Computer Power Supplies

Seasonic offers the X Series, a range of power supplies that are consistently quiet, as well as being of high quality and good value.


Quiet Computer Cases

Although a computer case is not normally a source of noise itself, it plays a role in the overall noise level of the PC. With proper attention to air vents, air flow, vibration characteristics, and sound insulation, a computer case can contribute in reducing the noise of a PC.


Full PC System

Fortunately, you don't need to be a hardware tinkerer to have a quiet PC. If you're not interested in assembling or replacing individual components to achieve a quieter system, you can purchase a PC from a company that's already done the work.

Puget Systems' Serenity PC models are optimized for quiet. In independent testing, Silent PC Review awarded the Puget Systems Serenity PC its highest mark: Certified Silent.

Puget Custom Computers

It's often the case that a quiet product is superior in other ways as well. Puget Systems receives ongoing accolades for high performance, quality assembly, and individualized service, in addition to being recognized for their extremely low noise PC. Puget Systems is based in the US and also ships to Canada, the UK, and Australia.

Many of the products listed above are gleaned from the pages of Silent PC Review (SPCR), an extensive website established in 2002 dedicated to providing news and information about quiet computers and components, including reviews based on noise tests conducted in their anechoic chamber. Check them out for in-depth information on quiet computer components.


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